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Effective Goal Execution: Part 1

Just do a quick google search on goal setting and you will find over a million search results. There are many methods out there on how to set and track your goals yet every year by February most people have given up on their New Years Resolutions. The key is to find a method that works for you through some trial and error and focusing on habit development that will ultimately be what leads you to achieve your goals.

In this first installment, we will cover the goal pyramid, 5,4,3,2,1 goal setting method, and SMART goals. Whether you like the goal pyramid or 5,4,3,2,1 method better any goal you do set should follow the SMART characteristics that have become commonplace in goal setting. One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting goals is that they are too vague so it is easy to fall off the wagon.

The Goal Pyramid

Possibly similar to other ways of looking at goals, the goal pyramid puts your most important, and largest goal at the top of a pyramid, followed by large milestones, medium milestones, and small milestones.

Primary Goal

At the top of your pyramid is your primary goal. This is the ultimate thing you wish to achieve, and it is what drives your motivation to keep you moving forward. Examples of your primary goal might include: get a promotion at work, lose 25 lbs., write my book, grow my business, learn French, spend more time with my kids, run an ultra...etc.

Long-Term Goals

Next up are your long-term goals. In order to identify these goals, look at your primary goal, and think about a few big milestone markers that will help you get there. Generally, people have 2-3 long-term goals. These items usually take several weeks or months to complete depending on the size of your primary goal.

Short-Term Goals

Similar to the previous step, in order to identify your short-term goals, break down your long-term goals into more tangible objectives. What can you accomplish in a week or two to get you moving toward your long-term goals? Keep in mind that these short-term goals might change as you continue progressing toward your primary goal. In fact, both your short-term goals and your daily habits have a fluidity to them, which allows you to update your objectives as you get closer to your primary goal.

Daily Habits

Your daily habits are – as the name suggests – steps you take each day to move you toward your short-term goals. These habits should be small, specific, actionable steps that you can check off your to-do list in a relatively short amount of time. Like the short-term goals, your daily habits will change often as you continue progressing toward your end goal.

Build Healthy Habits

  1. Plan. Identify unhealthy patterns and triggers.

  2. Change your surroundings. Find ways to make healthier choices easy choices.

  3. Ask for support.

  4. Fill your time with healthy activities.

  5. Track your progress. … leading and lagging

  6. Imagine the future.

  7. Reward yourself.

  8. Be patient

Break Down Your Day

5 parts (this is just a guide, you fill in more details and arrange how you need too)

1. Early Morning:

  • Upon waking up, 15 minutes yoga/walk and reflection, shower, breakfast, get to work

2. Late Morning:

  • Work

  • Get the kids going on their homework

3. Afternoon:

  • Work

  • Training at 3:00 pm

  • Follow up with kids to be sure all is done

4. Late Afternoon:

  • Dinner

  • Write down 3 goals for tomorrow

  • Take the dog for a walk

5. Evening:

  • Implement sleep strategies


5,4,3,2,1 Goal Method

5-4-3-2-1 method means that we’re going to work in chunks of five years, four months, three weeks, two days, and one hour to set and work toward our goals. You will see a recurring pattern with all these goal-setting methods, building health habits!

Five Years

Patience is needed. 5 years is a long time, but then again, we all know 5 years can fly by… that is why it’s imperative to dream big. Something that really tugs on your heartstrings. Don’t just look ahead. Look back. What did you accomplish in the last 5 years? Maybe your heart sinks at this part. You gave up on your goals or maybe you did things you never thought you’d do!

I’m a big dreamer. But if you don’t dream big then you can’t win big. So dream big… then learn to trust yourself through baby steps in order to reach your goals.

Find your “Why”... if you don’t have a why, or if it’s not a strong intrinsic why then your why becomes why bother…

Four Months

Think about what habits your ideal self has. What does your ideal self do every day, whether they want to or not? What habits would help to get you from your current self to your five-year goal? Focus on building those habits in the next four months.

Along with building some long-term habits, set a couple four-month goals. You’ll need to think much smaller than your five-year goal here. What is the first step you’ll need to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be in five years? Five years is a long time, and your five-year goal is a big goal.

Three Weeks

What’s possible in the next 3 weeks? Doing the leg work now will be needed. 3 weeks isn’t that far away! Three weeks is a much more concrete length of time. We frequently plan things three weeks in advance.

Set a few smaller goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next three weeks. You could try setting a personal challenge. Start building a habit. Baby Steps! If your five-year goal isn’t so much something that can be accomplished by building habits, maybe your three-week goal could be a smaller, more tangible version of your five-year goal.

Two Days

Get a good planner! Write the goals down with the action you are going to take to achieve them! Action starts now! Yes even for your five-year goals. What actions do you need to take? Create dates and action items for each week.

Do your homework! We use this for race execution as well. Take a piece of paper and number on the left side. Write down all the excuses or negative thoughts you think you may have or encounter with your goal setting journey. Then counter them with positive affirmations, ideas, etc on the right side.

Know your Why. If, in the next two days, you find yourself reluctant to complete a task or trying to procrastinate, revisit your Why. Know why you’re doing these tasks, why you’re building habits, and what you’re working toward. You can be that ideal version of yourself, but it needs to start today. No excuses.

One Hour

The 1 in 5-4-3-2-1 really does represent one hour. Be choosy in what you do with every hour!

“If you don’t change anything, nothing will change.”

Revisit your goals weekly! Ask yourself, What is working? What is not? Put it on your calendar to come back here to revisit your 5-4-3-2-1 goals so you don’t fall into that trap of setting a bunch of goals and doing a bunch of planning and then not executing it. Execution is by far the most important part.

Write an end date! Reevaluate. If you don’t revisit, reinvest, there won’t be any success. There are several goal-achieving methods. What works for one person may not work for another. Ask yourself weekly, what is working? What is not?


S.M.A.R.T Goals

Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely.

S – Specific

If you can’t define this, then how can you actually get it?

  • Who – Do you need help? A nanny, an accountability partner?

  • What – Get detailed, defined, and in line.

  • When – get super specific on this. Break it down! From your big goal, then weekly, then daily.

  • Where – the gym? A new office?

  • Which – Determine any related obstacles or requirements. “Again going back to the homework in the previous section I stated”

  • Why – What is the reason for the goal?

M – Measurable

What metrics are you going to use to determine if you meet the goal?

A – Achievable

How important is it? If it is important, you will get it!

R – Relevant

Does it make sense? Again what is needed to achieve your goals.. Baby steps, baby goals...are they ideal?

T – Time-Bound

Be realistic on this one. And as you may have noticed, I keep recommending to work backwards from your main goal. Does it give you a panic attack? Or just a flutter? If you are panicking, consider extending it out a bit more time-wise.

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